Despite some regulatory background noises Asian markets continued to move north on Monday, buoyed by last week’s strong global stock market gains though an edge of cautiousness was present.
Both the South Korean Kospi, up more than +0.7% and the Taiwanese Taiex, up +0.33%, exerted strength. Profits from South Korea’s LG Electronics have been forecast to come in at +84% higher than last year. The Hang Seng was more or less flat though property player Country Garden soared +7%. Hong Kong’s Tencent Holdings advanced +0.9% ahead. Japan’s Nikkei was closed for a holiday.
Oil prices continue to rise with Brent crude and WTI both up, +0.12% and +0.16% respectively, to $67.70 and $61.54. The pound was -0.2% down overnight against the US dollar at 1.3540 while the euro slipped -0.2% against sterling at 0.8857.
This morning the Halifax releases its monthly UK house price index update; German industrial orders numbers are imminent.
- UK FTSE 100 7,724.22 +0.37%
- DAX 13,319.64 +1.15%
- CAC 40 5,470.75 +1.05%
- Dow 25,295.87 +0.88%
- S&P 500 2,743.15 +0.70%
- Nasdaq 7,136.56 +0.83%
- Nikkei 225 23,714.53 +0.89%
- Gold 1,318.90 -0.26%
- Oil WTI 61.55 +0.18%
Mothercare sales sink lower including online
Mothercare’s trading update this morning kept the grim retail mood consistent. Sales fell more than -7% for the 12 weeks to the end of December. International sales are down almost -7% in actual currency terms.
The grimness of the results are clear in online – an area many retailers can still be cheery about even if things don't look so hot with bricks-and-mortar operations. Mothercare’s online sales are down -6.9% while taking more than 40% of overall sales.
“Going forward, we are not anticipating any improvement in the short-term market conditions for the UK,” said chief exec Mark Newton-Jones, “and on this basis the adjusted group profit for the year is likely to be in the range of £1-5m."
Investors push Apple on children iPhone use
Some unease for Apple. Two major investors, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System and Jana Partners, are pushing the tech giant for answers on tech addiction for children.
“We believe there is a clear need for Apple to offer parents more choices and tools to help them ensure that young consumers are using your products in an optimal manner,” the investors said, first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
The longer term worry is how Apple could be exposed to public mental health worries if the regulatory mood switches. Both investors want Apple to increase parental controls and direct more money into research on the issue. Apple shares were up more than +1% on Friday at $175.
Breaking news: UK-German Apple chip supplier Dialog Semiconductor says sales are up +25% for the final three months of 2017 – better than forecast. Insulin maker Novo Nordisk has made a €2.5bn bid for Ablynx.